Skip to Content

Grill Season: Cheap Cuts of Meat For Great Grilling

Think you need to spend a lot of money for amazing grilled dinners? Save a few dollars and put these cheap cuts of meat to the test for the best grilling recipes all season long. 

Sliced medium-rare steak on a wooden board, garnished with fresh thyme and a red chili pepper, served with a small bowl of dipping sauce on the side.

Great grilling doesn’t always mean spending top dollar on prime cuts and butcher-quality steaks. Explore a variety of affordable beef cuts that deliver mouthwatering flavors without breaking the bank. Elevate your grilling game with these common budget-friendly options, perfect for satisfying both your taste buds and wallet. Now, all you’ve got to do is get out your grill and clean it for amazing recipes all season long. 

The Best Cheap Beef Cuts For Grilling

Choosing budget-friendly beef cuts is essential for enjoying delicious grilled meals without straining your finances. These economical options allow you to experiment with new flavors and recipes while also feeding the whole family. 

Top Sirloin 

Top sirloin is a lean and moderately tender cut from the upper rear of the cow. It has a milder beef flavor perfect for robust steak sauces but is still a great choice for grilling hot and fast. Top sirloin steak grills quickly and is perfectly portioned for individual servings with your favorite side dishes.

Chuck Steak

This cut comes from the shoulder area and is known for its rich, beefy flavor. It can be a bit tough, but soaking it in a steak marinade and cooking it to medium rare can help tenderize this cheap cut of meat. Chuck steak is perfect for grilling in recipes like that keep it as a steak or diced and skewered for kebabs.

Skirt Steak

This long, thin cut comes from the diaphragm area of the cow. It’s prized for its deep flavor and relatively tender texture when cooked properly. Skirt steak is perfect for fajitas, stir fries, or just simply grilling with some salt and pepper. Make sure to slice it against the grain to maximize tenderness.

Close-up of a pair of tongs holding a piece of seasoned meat over a grill, with other pieces of meat cooking in the background.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is lean and has a strong beefy flavor. It comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is often used in dishes that call for strips of beef. A good flank steak marinade can help to it for a few hours or overnight to help tenderize the meat. Grill it quickly over high heat to avoid overcooking. Slice it thinly against the grain to serve for the best results.

Hanger Steak 

Also known as the “butcher’s steak,” hanger steak is a flavorful and relatively tender cut from the cow’s lower belly. It’s best when marinated and cooked over high heat to medium rare. Hanger steak works well in a variety of dishes.

All of these steaks are perfect for grilling on traditional charcoal grills, gas grills, flat top griddles like the Blackstone grill, or even pellet smokers and don’t require a Michelin star for perfect results. Simply set up your grill for 2-zone grilling, making a hot side and a cooler side, so you can control the cook. Do this with charcoal by stacking lit charcoal to one side of the grill or on a gas grill by igniting one burner and leaving the others off or on low. All grills hold heat differently, so take the time to familiarize yourself with your grill before cooking. 

When grilling, we do always recommend a quality digital meat thermometer so that you can cook your steak to your desired doneness. And for even more added barbecue flavor, consider adding wood chips or chunks right to your charcoal. 

Tips For Making Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Great

Who says you need Kobe beef, beef tenderloin, and other prime meats to wow your guests at a backyard BBQ? With the right techniques and a little creativity, you can turn cheap cuts of meat into delectable dishes. As long as your meat is grilled to perfection, it’s the taste and the presentation that will have a lasting effect on people.

From marinating and slow cooking to using the perfect seasoning blends, there are many tips and tricks you can try to make affordable meat options taste just as good, if not better, than expensive meat cuts. Follow the tips below and your guests will never know they’re enjoying budget-friendly cuts of meat, as each bite will be tender, flavorful, and delicious.


Use a flavorful marinade with acidic ingredients (such as vinegar or lemon juice) to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Allow the beef to marinate for at least a few hours, or ideally overnight, for best results. However, avoid marinating too long as the acidity can cause the texture to get mushy. Eight to 12 hours is our max time for marinating beef. 

Season Well

Don’t be shy with the seasoning. Use a generous amount of salt and your favorite herbs and spices to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. We love a good dose of GirlCarnivore Ooomami Powder for really bringing out the beefy flavor of steaks. 

Close-up of seasoned meat pieces being grilled on a barbecue with visible smoke rising.

Know Whether to Cook “Low and Slow” or “Hot and Fast”

Some cuts benefit from low and slow cooking methods, like smoking, which helps to break down tough fibers and create a tender, juicy end result. Others are served by hot and fast grilling over direct heat. Knowing what your inexpensive cut needs for the best results is the chef’s secret to making the most out of every cut. 

Slice Against the Grain

Possibly the biggest trick to making sure your meat tastes amazing is in how it’s sliced. When cutting the cooked meat, be sure to slice it against the grain. This shortens the muscle fibers and makes the beef easier to chew, making these cheap cuts of beef top tier.  

Rest the Meat

After grilling, let the meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute within the meat before slicing into it. Allowing the meat to rest is crucial for achieving the best possible texture and flavor, resulting in a juicier, more tender, and more flavorful meat. 

Pair With Your Favorite Side Dishes

Complement your budget-friendly beef cut with delicious and flavorful side dishes, such as grilled vegetables, fresh salads, or creamy mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to grab wine glasses and the perfect wine pairing. This will help create a well-rounded meal and stretch your dollars even further.

Additionally, side dishes add color and variety to your spread, so don’t hesitate to get creative with your choices. Here are a few ideas and suggestions you can try – these side dishes are always a hit for me.

Coleslaw: The crisp, refreshing texture and tangy flavor of coleslaw provides a perfect contrast to the rich, smoky taste of grilled meats. The creamy dressings also balances out the heat from spicy BBQ sauces. My copycat Popeye’s Coleslaw is super easy to make – you only need green cabbage, carrots, and yellow onion for the salad and mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil for the dressing!

Rice Pilaf: The fluffy texture and neutral flavor of rice perfectly complements grilled meats. It is also versatile and can be seasoned or mixed with other ingredients according to how you like it. My relatives always request my copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Rice Pilaf whenever we grill because it’s good to eat on its own but also pairs great with grilled meats. So if you’re looking for a filling side dish, try this quick and easy dish made with onions, bell peppers, and rice!

Mac and Cheese: Who doesn’t like some good ‘ol mac and cheese at a gathering? This classic side dish is always a hit with both adults and kids. Whether you’re in the mood for a creamy baked mac or opt for the convenience of a no-boil mac and cheese dish, this comfort food will always be a great addition to any BBQ spread.

Soup: Soups are an ideal BBQ side dish especially when the weather is cool. They’re versatile – you can choose a soup recipe with a flavor, texture, and temperature that would complement the grilled meat dinner that you prepared, providing a lovely contrast to the smoky flavors of the barbecue.

Dessert: This is a bonus, but serve some sweet treats to complete your grilled meal and to satisfy the sweet tooth of your guests. If baking is not your thing or you’re too busy to make a sweet dish, I would recommend that you try to make some easy no-bake desserts like a refreshing chocolate-sage ice cream or a satisfying Saiki K coffee jelly. You might also like to try some delicious 5-ingredient dessert recipes like strawberry brownies, cherry dump cake, or chocolate chip cookies.

Now that you’ve got some inspiration, set the table and light the charcoal. Start making the most of these cheap cuts of meat for the grilling season. 

Portions of this article first appeared on Food Drink Life.


Saturday 15th of June 2024

My skirt steak comes folded and it was a pain to cook and cut. So the next time, I unfolded it before I cooked it. It was much easier. Also cooking a tougher piece of meat like short ribs or brisket or even a steak can become softer when you marinate it in bone broth. Depending on the meat, you might need to to this for five hours or so.

Easy Homemade Life

Wednesday 19th of June 2024

Thank you for sharing your tips with us. I hope other readers will find this very helpful too.

Kath Wilson

Tuesday 11th of June 2024

Tip #1 from the blog really helped. I can't wait to try marinating my chuck steak overnight for my next BBQ!

Easy Homemade Life

Tuesday 11th of June 2024

Thank you, Kath! I hope they will love them as well. Sending best wishes to your friends.